There’s nothing in it.
We’re asked to consider this as part of the MAODE; it may even be a component of the EMA in H800, yet after three modules I had not experienced a face to face anything – the MAODE (Masters in Open and Distance Education) is entirely (stubbornly?) online.
It has been with trepidation and fascination that I find myself attending group tutorials or seminars, booking in for a Residential School and having to face an exam. These are part of an elective, a 30 point module that forms part of the OU Business School MBA (Master of Business Administration).
I can say with complete conviction that there is no competition, though evidentially different, both the online and face-to-face tutorial meet the same objectives, albeit with significant differences. Both should be experienced before you pass judgement.
There are pros and cons to each. Two face-to-face tutorials of two and a half hours each had me in a group of first 16, then 11. We listened a bit but interacted a good deal. I took notes but am still writing them up. Online you talk with you fingertips; I have met up with fewer at a time, six or less on Elluminate, more asynchronously in a forum. There have been threaded discussions of 100+ posts running to 16,000 words or more.
On the oer hand, travelling to a tutorial 63 miles from home last week I lost a good piece of the day, caught in a traffic accident going in and a worse one on the M25 coming back. Then again I’ve had tutor group forums that have been badly attended by both the tutor and fellow students.
Research (Richardson, 2005-2011) shows that satisfaction rates for online or face-to-face tutorials are now matched: electing for or receiving one or the other, from the OU at least, students are just as satisfied.